One of the things I love about teaching at an independent school is the opportunity to have “advisory time.” At my North Carolina school, I’m a seventh grade advisor again this year, and we have an hour after lunch for advisory every third school day. Today was our third advisory meeting of the year, and three of the “getting to know you” activities we did today were a “Daily Dedication,” a “Check-In Question,” and a “Selfie-Bingo” with Google Slides. In this post, I’ll briefly describe each activity and share links to the activities if you’d like to do these with your own students.

Advisory Outline: 30 August 2023” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

Daily Dedication

I love having “class meetings” with my advisory classes to build classroom community and develop stronger relationships with and among students. I’ve had “class meetings” in the past with undergraduate as well as graduate classes I’ve taught too, and they have always been valuable and memorable sharing times.

This year, our advisory coordinators shared Henry Seton’s EduTopia article, “A Daily Ritual That Builds Trust and Community Among Students,” which includes the idea of a “Daily Dedication.” Basically, a member of the class shares a photo, video, or media collage, often of a family member or friend. The subject can also be a favorite author, artist, or other influential, respected person. The speaker then shares a little bit about that person and why they want to dedicate our time today to them, in around 30 to 60 seconds.

For our first “Daily Dedication” of advisory this year, I chose to share about our daughter, Rachel, who completed Basic Cadet Training this summer at the Air Force Academy and is now a fourthclass cadet in the Class of 2027. I used Google Slides to create a media slideshow including some photos of her from the summer, as well as the video of her “acceptance into the Cadet Wing” earlier this month and a recent selfie she took after she got her first flight suit.

I shared with my advisees that I’ll be inviting them to share a “Daily Dedication” for upcoming meetings, and I’m hoping this will be a good way for us to learn more about each other and build our sense of classroom community together.

Check-In Question

One of the traditions we have at mealtime in our family at home is often having a “question of the day” that everyone has to answer at the end of the meal. I usually come up with this, and the questions can range from being fairly random to serious.

Since Hurricane Idalia just made landfall in Florida this morning and is headed for the Carolinas right now, I announced that our check-in question for today was, “Share a memory or story you have from the past about a thunderstorm, hurricane, tornado, or other severe weather event.” I went first, and then selected another student to share. Students continued to “tag” each other after they shared their story or memory. We heard stories about tornados, fallen trees in thunderstorms, hail storms, hurricanes, lightning strikes, earthquakes, and house fires. Students in our advisory this year have experienced a wide range of severe weather events!

Downtown Greensburg, Kansas in August 2007” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Wesley Fryer


Paper-based “Student bingo” games are common “getting to know you” activities for the first day of class. Since we are a “1 to 1 iPad School,” last year I created a “Selfie Bingo” Google Slide Deck, which includes 36 different prompts like:

  1. Likes Dr. Pepper
  2. Have a dog
  3. Has caught a fish
  4. Knows how to swim
  5. Loves video games
  6. etc.

I challenged students to take selfie photos with a classmate on their iPad, directly on the appropriate slide, for as many advisory classmates as they could. (To provide additional incentive, I also told them if they were able to get a minimum number, I’d have a treat for them at our next meeting.) Students shared their slideshows with me at the end, and I shared some of them with the entire class at the end of our advisory period so we could learn more about each other and also get some additional information too. I learned a lot about my advisees! I also combined all the slides students created into a single slideshow, and I’m going to share this again at upcoming advisory meetings.

Selfie-Bingo with Google Slides” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

Last year when I did this activity with one of my academic classes, I let students just take photos of classmates. I definitely think it’s more fun to have students take selfies TOGETHER. There are more smiles and the students just seem to enjoy it more.

I allowed students who didn’t want to take selfies or be in photos to opt out, and in those cases they could just take photos of classmates or type classmate names into their slideshow. It’s important to give students this option to opt out of photographs. This models the same type of respect we always want to give people when taking their photo and also sharing photos.

I’m excited for another year of middle school teaching and advisory this year! You can access many of my media literacy and other STEM course lessons and curriculum on

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